Leonardo Da Vinci
Italian High Renaissance Painter and Inventor, 1452-1519
Florentine Renaissance man, genius, artist in all media, architect, military engineer. Possibly the most brilliantly creative man in European history, he advertised himself, first of all, as a military engineer. In a famous letter dated about 1481 to Ludovico Sforza, of which a copy survives in the Codice Atlantico in Milan, Leonardo asks for employment in that capacity. He had plans for bridges, very light and strong, and plans for destroying those of the enemy. He knew how to cut off water to besieged fortifications, and how to construct bridges, mantlets, scaling ladders, and other instruments. He designed cannon, very convenient and easy of transport, designed to fire small stones, almost in the manner of hail??grape- or case-shot (see ammunition, artillery). He offered cannon of very beautiful and useful shapes, quite different from those in common use and, where it is not possible to employ cannon ?? catapults, mangonels and trabocchi and other engines of wonderful efficacy not in general use. And he said he made armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the serried ranks of the enemy with their artillery ?? and behind them the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed, and without any opposition. He also offered to design ships which can resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon, and powder and smoke.
The large number of surviving drawings and notes on military art show that Leonardo claims were not without foundation, although most date from after the Sforza letter. Most of the drawings, including giant crossbows (see bows), appear to be improvements on existing machines rather than new inventions. One exception is the drawing of a tank dating from 1485-8 now in the British Museum??a flattened cone, propelled from inside by crankshafts, firing guns. Another design in the British Museum, for a machine with scythes revolving in the horizontal plane, dismembering bodies as it goes, is gruesomely fanciful.
Most of the other drawings are in the Codice Atlantico in Milan but some are in the Royal Libraries at Windsor and Turin, in Venice, or the Louvre and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Two ingenious machines for continuously firing arrows, machine-gun style, powered by a treadmill are shown in the Codice Atlantico. A number of other sketches of bridges, water pumps, and canals could be for military or civil purposes: dual use technology.
Leonardo lived at a time when the first artillery fortifications were appearing and the Codice Atlantico contains sketches of ingenious fortifications combining bastions, round towers, and truncated cones. Models constructed from the drawings and photographed in Calvi works reveal forts which would have looked strikingly modern in the 19th century, and might even feature in science fiction films today. On 18 August 1502 Cesare Borgia appointed Leonardo as his Military Engineer General, although no known building by Leonardo exists.
Leonardo was also fascinated by flight. Thirteen pages with drawings for man-powered aeroplanes survive and there is one design for a helicoidal helicopter. Leonardo later realized the inadequacy of the power a man could generate and turned his attention to aerofoils. Had his enormous abilities been concentrated on one thing, he might have invented the modern glider. Related Paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci :. | Christ's Head | The Virgin of the Rocks | Study for a kneeling Leda | Regisol | Bacchus |
Related Artists:Lotz, Karoly
Hungarian Painter, 1833-1904
was a German-Hungarian painter. Karl Lotz was born in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany, the seventh and youngest surviving child of Wilhelm Christian Lotz and Antonia Höfflick. His father was a valet of Prince Gustav zu Hessen-Homburg at the time when the prince was representing Austria at the Congress of Vienna, which among other matters dealt with the House of Hessen-Homburg's rights of sovereignty over Hessen-Darmstadt. The sudden death of the young Baron von Sinclair, charge d'affaires, forced W. C. Lotz temporarily into the rôle. While in Hungary in 1815 he made the acquaintance of the 13-year-old Antonie Hoefflich, whom he married three years later. She gave birth to eight children, of whom Karl was the youngest. W. C. Lotz died in 1837 and Antonie moved the family to Pest (now that part of Budapest to the north of the River Danube). Karl attended the Piaristengymnasium, where, although Calvinist, he was awarded a scholarship for his exceptional academic performance. He began his artistic career as a pupil of the Hofkapellmeister Destouches, then in the academy of the Venetian master Jacopo Marastoni (1804-1860). Later he was a pupil of the historical painters Henrik Weber (1818-1866) in Budapest and Carl Rahl (1812-1865) in Vienna. Together with Rahl he worked on numerous commissions. Later he started on his own original works, first as a romantic landscape artist in scenes of the Alföld (the Hungarian lowland plain), and then as a creator of monumental murals and frescos in the style of the Venetian master Tiepolo. After various works in Budapest he became active in Vienna. He laid out plans for a grandiose palace, and completed murals commissioned by the Abbot of Tihany for his abbey church on the shore of Lake Balaton. He became known for his portraits and nudes, for which both his wife and his daughters (Katarina in particular) posed. Lotz found married bliss only at the age of 58, when he married the widow Jacoboy, the former wife of his brother Paul Johann Heinrich, who had died in 1828. From then on he signed his works Keroly Jacoboy-Lotz. In 1882 Lotz was appointed Professor at various art academies in Budapest, and in 1885 he became dean of a newly-established department for women painters. Manuel Orazi
French, 1860-1934Narjot, Ernest